Get Your Craft On

Crafty Business Advice: Make your handmade goods truly unique.

I’ve read your article about pricing, and while I love the theory of pricing based on labor and I agree that my skills should be at least $20 or more, who in the world would pay $60 for a little scarf just because it’s handmade?

Take a look at Etsy and there are plenty of scarves selling (just check the seller’s sold items and number of sales) for $60 and more. Yes, there really are people who will pay the price of handmade simply because they appreciate the time, and they value the quality.

There are even more people who will pay a premium if it’s really something special- perhaps it’s because you use the highest quality fibers, or dye the yarn yourself in patterns and colors no one has seen before, or because the particular crochet pattern is something unique.

Rococo Knit Shawl / Wrap by ElenaRosenberg

This is where the frustration comes from when people say, “I could get that for $5 at Walmart.” Because no- there is not a single item in my shop you could get a Walmart. Yes, you can buy a dress at Walmart or a dress from me, but they are certainly not the same dress. Not even close.

That being said, if you are selling something that really could be had for $5 at Walmart, then that may be a problem. It would be very difficult to compete directly with the largest retailer in the world- even other large retailers have failed at that.

The trick is to find that magic “something” that makes people go, “Oh! I really can’t get that anywhere else!” That takes the competition right out of the game.

Garden Update, Fall 2013

My busy season started a little early this year, so I haven’t been posting garden updates like I had intended.

Well, hold on to your butts, because here come some pictures of flowers and things.

The first up are nasturtiums. Usually I get whatever mix they have at the store, but then I saw this photo of the trailing nasturtiums in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum courtyard in Boston. I NEEDED trailing nasturtiums!

These are what I settled on:


“moonlight” nasturtium

They’re called “Moonlight”. A nice creamy yellow. The foliage (which always reminds me of lily pads) is a little darker green than the nasturtiums I’ve grown before. Continue reading…

The Quest for the Dry Erase Refrigerator

This post brought to you by Duck Brand®. All opinions are 100% mine.

Once upon a time, I wanted a dry erase board for my fridge. Then I had this possibly-genius realization: Hey! My big ass white fridge kind of looks like a giant dry erase board! I bet I can just write all over it!

Luckily (and quite out of character for me, to be quite honest), I decided to test a dry erase marker in a very small spot on the side of the fridge first. This was lucky because my fridge, as it turns out, is not one big dry erase board. The marker actually wouldn’t come off! (I was later able to remove the mark with a magic eraser. Crisis averted!)

Okay, so that didn’t work. But what about this? I bet clear contact paper would work. Slap a layer of that on the fridge and use the marker on that!

Tried it. Marker didn’t wipe off.

Next idea… what about press n seal wrap? I tested the marker on it BEFORE I put it all over the fridge this time. And it worked!

So I stuck it on the fridge and discovered that the weird bumpy texture of the fridge made it very difficult to erase the writing.


So finally I gave up on the fridge-as-giant-dry-erase-board dream and settled on this little dinky thing:

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Enter Deco Laminate. Guess what they have? GUESS?

DRY ERASE LAMINATE! (They also have rad patterns like chevron, holographic stars, zebra print, AND… CHALK BOARD!)

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I wanted to note that it lists the adhesive as being permanent, however it IS removable. I had to reposition mine a few times and it sticks really nice but doesn’t leave any sort of residue behind. Perfect if you’re renting and don’t own your appliances, walls, etc., or if you just don’t want to commit to a dry erase fridge forever. Obviously it would be a good idea to test it on a surface before plastering your entire house with it.

I cut out a sheet big enough to cover the top door and started sticking! I made sure to clean the door first and I removed the handle, though it probably would have been fine to leave the handle in place while I worked.

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I got it as smooth as I could, but there was this pesky branding doo-hickey on the door. So I smoothed right up to it and then cut around it with a craft knife (if you don’t own your fridge- or even if you do- please be very gentle with the knife or you run the risk of scratching the finish).

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Continue reading…

Duck-orate Your Binder!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walmart for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Stuck with a boring 3-ring binder?

Duck Tape® to the rescue!


Here’s a quick tutorial that’ll help you snaz up (did I just say SNAZ UP? Oy.) your bland binder. All you need is a binder, some rad Duck Tape® (buy Duck Tape at Walmart), and a craft knife.


1. Measure the binder. Mine is about 10″ wide and 11″ tall.


2. Find a flat smooth surface to lay out your design on. I’m using my cutting mat because the tape easily peels off, and the craft knife won’t hurt the surface.


3. I’m going for a zebra pattern, so I’ve laid out some alternating strips with angled ends.


Continue reading…

Scam alert!

Heads up to customers and fellow sellers, there is yet another scam site stealing photos and listings from Etsy sellers. The scam site is:

As a reminder, I only sell through my personal website ( and my etsy shop (

If you ever see any of my items for sale on another site, proceed with suspicion. These sites aren’t even selling cheap knock-offs- they just outright steal your money and never send you anything.

New Ruffle Bustle Skirt Pattern in the Shop!

Well, so far I have not met my New Year’s Resolution goal of one new pattern a month. But I did at least meet the goal of having this pattern ready before Halloween!

The newest WhatTheCraft Pattern is the Ruffle Bustle Skirt!
This voluminous tie-on bustle skirt is the perfect accessory for any steampunk, burlesque, or Halloween costume-  complete your look with a corset and a pair of bloomers or leggings!
The skirt has an open front with three lace trimmed, ruffled layers that cascade around your hips, emphasizing your feminine curves. The satin ribbon ties at the waist allow for flexible sizing.

The sample I made is Queen of Hearts inspired, now I’m thinking versions for Alice, the Cheshire Cat, and the Mad Hatter are in order! These bustle skirts would be so awesome for a group costume theme.

Quick Tip: What’s the difference between a ballpoint needle and a stretch needle?

Is there even a difference? The answer is yes. I tend to use them interchangeably, but the stretch needles do have some benefits for the extra stretchy fabrics like lycra/spandex.vintagepinksewingmachinekenmore

Both types have a rounded end compared to a universal needle, which prevents snags or runs in the knit fabric. But a stretch needle also allows for a longer thread loop, which is supposed to prevent skipping stitches.

So if you’re using lycra/spandex, I would go with the stretch needle. And when in doubt, take a scrap of the fabric you’ll be using for a project and test out the stitches with various needles to see what gets the best result.

Softcup – Live Life Without Interruptions

This post brought to you by Softcup. All opinions are 100% mine.

Did you know there’s an alternative to pad and tampons? I’m surprised how many women don’t. If you’re out of the loop, then allow me to introduce the Softcup!

Oh Softcup, how I love thee, let me count the ways:

  1. No more carrying around a purse full of pads and tampons!
  2. No more waste! You are producing drastically less trash when you say goodbye to pads and tampons!
  3. No more public restrooms! Put the Softcup in before you leave home in the morning, take it out for cleaning when you get home in the evening! The Softcup can be worn continuously for 12 hours.
  4. No more worrying about leakage! Swim, run, and sleep, and you’ll barely know the Softcup is even there.
  5. No more worrying about TSS: studies show that the Softcup does not promote growth of the bacterium believed to cause Toxic Shock Syndrome.

Continue reading…

A Quick Update

Here’s a quick peek at some new designs, while a take a wee break from the never ending flood of custom orders I swimming in right now.

This is a version of my Yvonne swing dress in a new fabric!

And then a version of my Greaser Girl dress in black satin!

This pop-art inspired Mario Bros. top was one of a kind:

Continue reading…

Attack of the Earwigs

I keep getting asked for updated photos of my garden projects, and now I’m kicking myself that I didn’t take them a few days ago. Because now we are under attack by that filthy disgusting Dermaptera known as the earwig.

I can remember an era before the European earwig invasion. It was a simpler, less horrifying time.

That summer my mother’s delphiniums mysteriously died. She couldn’t figure out why. But when she cut off the dead dried-up flower stalks, earwigs poured out in the thousands. It was like an earwig fountain. Real life horror movie stuff.

Fast forward 20 years or so and my vegetable garden looks pretty swell. Then I started noticing something happened to my “Green Machine” melon seedlings.

melon problems

They started getting some yellowish spots and what looked like nibbles. I was concerned about powdery mildew, but quickly ruled that out. After hours of internet research, I determined that it was likely a bit of environmental stress (there had been a several day cold snap before the damage appeared) and perhaps a few nibbles from some critters. I lost 2 melon seedlings, but the two in the photo above are doing okay.

However, it’s been two weeks and now almost all of my bean plants have been munched away to nothingness:


This is one of about 2 or 3 bean plants that haven’t been completely annihilated:


This butternut squash plant looked awesome until about 3 days ago. All of that damage was done in about that amount of time:


This is what the smaller, less robust butternut plants look like. I wish I had taken a photo of this plant yesterday because all of this damage was done last night:


As you can see, something is causing significant damage. Healthy leaves are reduced to skeletons overnight. If I don’t figure out how to stop this quickly, I might not have a garden at all in a week. Continue reading…